Historical marker for Bay Tex approved by state

This postcard reflects how the Bay Texas Hotel appeared not long after its 1927 opening.

    The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has recognized a local landmark as an important part of Texas history by granting an Official Texas Historical Marker. 
   The Bay Tex Hotel on Sixth Street is the latest historical asset to be recognized by the Texas Historical Commission in Matagorda County. 
   “The Official Texas Historical Marker program helps bring attention to community treasures and the importance of their preservation,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the THC. 
   “Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of our state’s history.  
   “This designation is a tool that will increase public awareness of important cultural resources,” Wolfe said. 
   A subject qualifies for a marker if two basic criteria are met: historical significance and age. 

To read more, please log in or subscribe ot our digital edition. 


Colonial Theatre through the years

Bay City Sentinel/Mike Reddell
The theater building today.

   The Colonial/Texas theater has a long history in Bay City and the building is back in the news because the Rhema Church offered to give the structure to the City of Bay City as a possible cultural arts center.
   Council is discussing the offer and how much needed renovations will cost, with a goal of turning it over to another group to manage.
   In 1927, the Colonial Theater was built at 2227 Avenue F in Bay City, by James R. Preddy, Mae Brunner and P. R. Hamill.
   It was soon reopened as John Long bought the building and renamed it the "Texas."
   Indeed, the structure was long known as the Long Building.
   The theater has a 4,985-square-foot theater and 1,560-square-foot balcony. 


Dale-Rugeley-Sisk Home was a stop for Texas’ early leaders

The historic Dale-Rugeley-Sisk home today in Matagorda..

   Although the original house has been added on to and probably changed during the many years of existence because of hurricane and water damage, the abstract records show that the property has had several distinguished owners and much history connected with it.
    The property upon which the house is located was first owned by Ira Ingram, the first alcalde of the Matagorda Municipality in 1843, member of Congress of the Republic and first speaker of the House of Representatives, 1836. 
   He was also a pioneer patron of the public schools, signer of the Declaration of Independence at Goliad, 1835. 

To read more, please log in or subscribe to our digital edition. 


Horton served Texas as soldier, statesman

 Albert Clinton Horton was born September 4, 1798 in Hancock County, Georgia, son of William and Mary Thomas Horton. 
   His father died when he was very young and later his mother married Colonel Samuel Dent, moving to LaGrange, Franklin County, Alabama in 1823. 
   Albert Horton married Eliza Holliday in 1829, daughter of General Thomas Holliday.  
   Eliza was born in North Carolina in 1815, but was living in Alabama with her brother-in-law and guardian, W. J. Croom, father of Colonel John L. Croom of Matagorda, Texas. 
   Horton and his wife moved to Greensboro, Alabama where he served one term in the Alabama State Senate in 1832. 
   Albert Horton came to Matagorda County, Texas, April, 1835, when he purchased several leagues of land in the northern part of Matagorda County, which is now part of Wharton County.  


Big Boggy National Wildlife Refuge serves critical purpose

Big Boggy National Wildlife Refuge in Matagorda County.

   Big Boggy National Wildlife Refuge is on East Matagorda Bay just south of Lake Austin and 21 miles south of Bay City in southern Matagorda County. 
   It is bordered on the west by Big Boggy Creek, on the east by a county road leading to the small fishing community of Chinquapin, and on the south by the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.  
   It provides winter habitat for migratory waterfowl.  
   In 1990 it had 4,113 acres of coastal prairie and salt marsh. It is accessible only by way of Chinquapin Road or by boat. 

To read more, please log in or subscribe to our digital edition. 


Dunbar once neighborhood settlement on Tres Palacios

The draw bridge on the Tres Palacios, was just south of Dunbar.

   Dunbar was a neighborhood settlement on the west side of Tres Palacios Creek in the Alexander Tims Survey, 
   Abstract 396, about one mile north of the FM 521 bridge to Collegeport.  
   Dunbar was named for the Dunbar family, one of the earliest in the area, who had a large tract of land just across the creek on the east and other lands north and east of Dunbar. 
   George W. Anderson came with his family to Texas from Buffalo, Kansas, in 1910, and built what he termed “the first house this way from Dunbar” on the west side of the Tres Palacios.  
   He remembers Dunbar as just a store on the west side of the creek.  
   In 1911 or 1912, the county hired Anderson to stay at the “turn” bridge to Collegeport to “turn” it when any boats needed to get through.  
   There was considerable traffic on the stream at that time- mostly pleasure boats, but some freight.  
   Cattle, peaches, and other products were shipped from Dunbar.


‘School House’ in the middle of the prairie

The Prairie Center School is shown in this photo from around 1925.

   During the year 1912, Common School District No. 12 was established between the Tres Palacios River and Cash’s Creek. 
   The two-room schoolhouse was first situated in the Dunbar community by the river and near the church and store. 
   It was called “The School House.”  
   A.L. Dyer, Lela Driskell, and Harley Lewis were the teachers.  
   In 1914 the building was moved to the middle of the district (about three miles west) on the prairie, hence “Prairie Center.”  
   Emma Shadel and Clara Schley were the faculty. 
   In 1917, the new three-room school was completed.  
   These small schools throughout the state of Texas were known as “Jim Ferguson schools.”  

To read more, please log in or subscribe to our digital edition. 


Gainesmore/At Last last stop on Hawkinsville train

Photo by Mike Reddell
The only reminder of Gainesmore, or At Last, is this structure that once served as the community’s general store off FM 457 between Cedar Lane and Sargent.

   Gainesmore, also known as At Last, was on Farm Road 457 seventeen miles south of Bay City in eastern Matagorda County. 
   The community was founded on the banks of Caney Creek sometime between June 1901 and February 1, 1903, when the Hawkinsville branch of the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway was completed to the area. 
   Reportedly, travel over the Hawkinsville Tap, as it was known, was so difficult that grateful passengers dubbed the end of the line “At Last.”  

To read more, please log in or subscribe to our digital edition. 


‘Kit’ Williams well known for his plantation, practice

   EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. C.H. Williams was born and lived on a lower Caney Creek plantation that was near the site of the former community of Gainesmore/At Last.
   The following is taken from his obituary in the Matagorda County News & Midcoast Farmer, March 28, 1916.
   Dr. C.H. “Kit” Williams was the oldest native of Matagorda County when he died March 27, 1916 at the age of 78.
   “Williams was an active, useful and honorable citizen of the county, seeking no office but lending influence always and in every way to the public welfare,” the obituary reads.
   “He has been failing in strength for the last two or three months. 
   “He spent a week here about ten days ago the guest with his wife of Dr. and Mrs. H.L. Rugeley, and feeling better returned to his home at Gainesmore. 


Royall played active role in revolution

   Richard Royster Royall, legislator, soldier, and plantation owner, was born on June 1, 1798, in Halifax County, Virginia, the youngest son of William and Elizabeth (Bedford) Royall. 
   His mother died when he was four, and he was reared by his stepmother, Polly (Glasscock) Royall. 
   When he was 21, his father gave him a plantation near Tuscumbia, Alabama.  
In 1819 he married Ann Alexander Underwood of Nashville, Tennessee. 
   They had six children before her death on February 18, 1831, in Matagorda County, Texas.  
   On January 3, 1839, Royall married Elizabeth Allen Love in Houston. Their only child died at age 11.  
   In 1819 Royall purchased, from Daniel Kimbell, a Spanish grant of two leagues near the Sabine River on the road between Natchitoches, Louisiana, and Nacogdoches, Texas. 
   He visited Texas in 1820 but found the place too unsettled for his taste.  


Subscribe to RSS - History